Bee's Hive

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A month has passed....

It's been a month since I took the first shot of Humira. Today they delivered the next round of shots. The improvement is slight, very slight. But, I'll give it another month before I judge the results. I'm still getting a lot of break through flare ups. I've decided I'll never go back 3 years to feeling good again. There is just too much damage this time. It's better to face the facts then to hope when there isn't any. I'm just pushing on and doing what I can do each day. It'll take more then pain and flares to stop me from living. 

It's been a month of temperature's that were over 100 daily and as hot as 111 a few days ago. I took those nice hot days to hose down and scrub all the outside furniture, shovels and yard decorations for the up coming move. We did look at one home this month. It was in the right zip code but much too small. This is going to be harder then I thought. The area we want to be in is pretty new. Lots of young people with kids so the houses are mostly 2 story homes.  The realestate suggested a 2 story with the master bedroom on the first floor but since I would be the one to clean and deal with laundry that just wouldn't work for me.

In the mean time the house we are trying to live in is a mess with boxes all over the place. The property manager raised our rent because we wouldn't sign a new lease and has refused to respond to our calls to repair the damage that was done with the flood from next door. We still have an open wall where the plumber cut out the dry wall.  I'm just hoping the air conditioner keeps working. I have a feeling since he knows we are moving he is just not going to do any repairs for us. Texas is NOT one of the 38 states that have laws for the renter. I'm sure we'll have a problem getting back our deposit of $1000.00 when the time comes and he'll most likely blame the flood on us so he has a reason to keep the money. But, I'll deal with that when the time comes.

Sewing has come to a halt with everything packed up. I've been watching a lot of old movies to take up the day. Nothing like watching White Christmas in 106 degree heat! We are afraid to even start up the grill with everything so dried out and the yard has a huge split down the center. It looks like maybe the water or sewer pipes run where the ground has opened up.

This weekend we are going shopping for some nice, on sale, yard furniture. This is my stocking up weekend. I've ordered 2 new swim suits on line and talked Dave into getting a new mattress. The day we arrived in Texas a year ago we stopped at a mattress center and bought beds so we would have something to sleep on. They weren't the best beds! If you are going to work as hard as Dave works you need a good nights sleep and sturdy shoes that fit right. I replaced my bed last month. It's wonderful! He'll be so surprised, after he sleeps on a good mattress one night, just how good he feels.

This week will be cooler so I'm going to work on the garage. We want a house with a double car garage this time. We have so many projects we enjoy and no room to work on anything here. I never got my doll houses put back together but I'm looking forward to doing that in the next house. Dave wants to put a new skin on his antique canoe and he's restoring another old bike. I have a lot of scrapbooking supplies, oil painting and one tote filled with wood carving,that I had just started to learn how to do, all sitting for the past year in a garage where there is no room to work. I keep looking at my power craft saw I dragged along and wonder if I'll ever get to use it again. I miss seeing my things. It'll be great just to be able to look through the boxes again.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Time to make the soup

I had some trouble finding the right ingredients in Texas, but I found replacements that will work. There is a lot of chopping and cutting so it's best to get all that done and ready first to make the job easier. 

1 Leek, use only the white and light green part. Cut it in quarters and then slice it in 1/4 inch pieces.
1 Bunch Kale, after steaming it, remove the large stems and cut it into 1/2 inch slices across the leaves.
1 Cabbage, core it and slice thin about 1/4 of the head.
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Carrots and 2 Celery stalks, cut on a slant into 1/2 inch pieces.
7 Red skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
1 Zucchini, cut into 1/2 inches pieces.
1 cup Fresh green beans cut on an angle in 1 inch pieces.
1 Large can plum tomatoes, chopped
Rind of Italian cheese, prosciutto heal or substitute
Salt and pepper, bay leaf, pinch of crushed red pepper and vegetable stock

Start by preparing the Cannellini beans. I couldn't find dry Cannellini beans so I used a can of Goya Brand Beans plus the juice. If you have dried beans, cover them with water by 2 inches in a bowl and refrigerate for 12 hours. Drain and bring 8 cups of water to a boil, add beans, 1 large onion, bay leaf. Boil about 1 hour, drain and remove the onion and bay leaf. Keep one cup of the bean water to use in the soup. If you use dried beans, of course you would have to make them the day before along with the stock.

Minestrone soup starts with a base called Soffritto.You will need 1/3 cup of good Olive Oil, 1 large piece of celery, 1 carrot and 1 large onion, cut all very fine. In a stock pot, heat the oil on low, add the veggies and cook until golden brown, stirring often.

Add leek and garlic, cook about 5 minutes until soft. Add the veggies, celery, carrots, potatoes, green beans, and zucchini. Cook until golden about another 5 minutes.

Now add the juice from the beans and 1 large can of plum tomatoes that you have chopped, cabbage, kale, stock (about a quart or more), cheese rind, pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and a bay leaf.

It's time to add the prosciutto. I always buy the heal of the meat for soup but in Texas I couldn't find one. I did find sliced slow aged so I rolled it and tied it..and added it to the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat and cook for 1 hour.

If you use dried beans you would now add them and cook about 1 more hour or until all the beans and veggies are done.  With the canned beans I had to use, I cooked my soup for 15 minutes longer and added the canned beans cooking for an added 10 minutes. I removed the cheese rind but left the prosciutto for flavor.

Tomorrow I'll add some Italian bread toasted in the oven with garlic butter. This recipe makes about 8 bowls of soup.

Lets make some Veggie Stock for Minestrone soup

First we have to start with the vegetable stock. It's much better if you make it and keep it in the refrig over night.
You will need 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil, 1 large onion (dice half and keep half whole), 2 celery stalks, 2 carrots (cut the celery and carrots to about 1/2 inch pieces)  2 or 3 garlic cloves sliced thin, fresh parsley, basil, thyme and 1 bay leaf. Peppercorns (about 1/4 tsp.) and coarse salt.

Heat oil and add chopped onion until it's carmelized (10 or 15 minutes). Add the veggies and cook until tender (10 minutes).

Add 10 to 12 cups of water, herbs, peppercorns, onion half and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cook 1 hour.

Set pot in sink in cold water. When cool, pour through a sieve into a refrigerater container. Press the juice out of the veggies and discard them.

Refrigerate stock overnight.

At Last the medicine arrived!

Friday morning I couldn't take it anymore so I called the insurance company again. I explained to them that I was suppose to refill my medicine on July 18th at a cost of $3000.00 to them. I thought I was doing the right thing by not filling it because I knew on July 21st I would be changing medicine. I thought it was cost effect for Medicare and for them. I thought I was doing the responsible thing knowing almost all of the medicine would end up dumped. Even though it wasn't working well, it was keeping me out of some pain but now since I was being put off on the new drug I had no back up medicine at all. The girl on the other end listened. She checked the computer and saw that I had not refilled my meds in mid July. Saturday morning I got a special delivery shipped.

The medicine is shipped in a huge box because it must be kept cold and kept from freezing at the same time.

Here it is, two little pens filled with what might be magical for me, or not. These 2 pre filled pens will cover 28 days and by then we should know if it's working.

This sheet is filled with the smallest print I've ever seen. It starts out "Things you should know about Humira before starting it." This sheet is filled on both sides. I'd need a very stong magnifying glass to read it and since I have no choice, maybe I'm better off not being able to read it.

This sheet is also printed on both sides. It's directions on how to inject the medicine. Since I've been using the regular old fashioned needle this was a help. I used the photo's to direct me because again the print was so very tiny.

You would think they had said everything there is to say about the product but they managed to add a booklet with 15 pages of more directions and warnings. 

This is Dave's weekend off so I was glad to have him home when I took the first shot. Sometimes things go wrong with a new med, like not being able to breath, and I didn't want to be alone when I took it for the first time. We had so much to do this weekend. Food shopping was first on the list but I took the shot and waited. It did make me a little dizzy and sick in the stomach but after an hour or so I felt fine. We got done what we could and even managed to buy a new larger bed for me. I have no idea what made me think I could sleep in a single bed with six pillows to support my limbs. With the house being so small I just thought at the time the smaller the better. I have suffered with the width of this bed for a was time to get a bigger one!

Tonight I am having a major flare up in my shoulders. I hope it's a sign of the meds and the disease having a war and not a sign that it's not going to work. Only time will tell that, so it's a wait and see for now.

Since I can't sleep, I'm going to make some Minestrone Soup with a recipe from back home in Philadelphia...It comes from an old neighbor from Italy and it's super good. If I get the stock done tonight, it'll be easy to finish it tomorrow. Today we found an HEB grocery store that carries Italian cheese rinds and slow aged Prosciutto so it should taste like home.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Finished the table runner

This was a fast project and maybe we'll be moved by the time fall comes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Still Waiting....

Not sure just what Congress did, but they did continue paying Medicare for now. Of course, I'm still waiting and looks like that might continue since they are way behind in filling drug requests.

I've tried to be quiet with my suffering but I can't control crying out in my sleep. The very last thing I wanted to do was wake Dave up after the long hours he's working. He can't do anything for me right now. I just have to keep taking pain killers and wait. But early this morning I woke him and I feel really bad about that.

This morning I lost it on a young fellow at the insurance company. I know he was reading from a program to handle people who are demanding attention and they won't give any. I just don't think the smart ass attitude goes too well with people who are suppose to be dealing with sick people. After he repeated for the 6th time that I need to read the booklet provided to me in January, I lost it. You mean the 150 page book, I asked. Fellow, you apparently have never suffered extreme pain. You can't think, focus on anything but the pain, your vision is blurred from it..NO, I haven't read it and don't intend to READ it.  The out break might have put me on the bottom of the list of unfilled prescriptions.

Some day this fellow will be looking in the eyes of his mother, sister, wife, child who is crying out for help while an insurance company youngin almost laughs on the other end of the phone. Only then will he know how desparate I am. I hope when the day comes for him, he remembers back to his own lack of compassion. He might even find himself dealing with horrible pain and know he could get rid of it if only someone got the medicine filled and sent out to him.

Dave got me some supplies for quilting to try and help me get through this. Under the influence of Vicodin I set out a few days ago to put together a cute Halloween table runner. It's for me so it doesn't have to be perfect, it's just one of those projects that will sit on the table and everyone will say it's cute and never look at the quilting. I have to say it has helped. I watched 2 movies and can't tell you anything about them, but this little project for some reason is going together pretty quick and I'm even enjoying doing it.